Make Amateur Radio Beautiful
If my kids have heard me say it once, they've heard me say it a thousand times - "Life's too short to; eat ugly food; shoot ugly guns; ride ugly bikes; wear ugly shoes... you get the drift. Most of my life has been influenced by aesthetics of all sorts. It's certainly what drew me to my profession as a designer, and to my hobbies (camping, hunting, hiking) including amateur radio.
Sure, there is a lot of ugly out there, and it won't take you all that long to come across it. It's true of most hobbies so amateur radio is certainly not immune from it. But I'll encourage you not to spend either too much time looking at it or dwelling on it. Instead, seek out all that is beautiful and you'll find what is true and good – beautiful always points to truth.
If you've been at this for very long you've developed some go-to web resources for information on amateur radio - I know I have. I believe that there is inherent beauty and aesthetic value in amateur radio that often goes overlooked. Below I'll share with you some of my favorites and why I think they are helping make amateur radio beautiful again.
Dave Casler - KE0OG
Channel: Ham Radio Answers
I tune into Dave Casler's videos when I need a deeper dive on some subject. His patient delivery of some pretty complex topics always leave me with a much better understanding of the subject. Dave has what I call the "heart of a teacher" in spades. He's kinda like having your favorite grandfather take you into his garage and teach you from the ground up with only the patience and enthusiasm that comes with age and experience.
Jerry Hildeman- KG6HQD
Channel: Hiking with Ham Radios
When I was getting back into amateur radio I spent a lot of time searching for where I belong in the hobby. I'm competitive by nature but could never see myself sitting in a shack all weekend contesting. I do however have a great love of the outdoors as you can tell from my hobby list. So when I discovered Summits on the Air (SOTA) I quickly found my passion. - Jerry pretty much single handedly helped me find my place in Ham Radio. He too has the heart of a teacher and the production value of his series has only improved over time.
Gil Gruson - F4WBY
Channel: Radio Prepper
Gil has an amazing breadth of ham radio knowledge. He equally embraces new and old technology reviewing and demoing everything with a particular focus on being prepared to communicate in the event of a disaster. He's a heck of a builder as well.
I think he's at his best out in the field. If you get a chance to watch any of his videos where he fires up old military radios – the PRC 351 + 352 from remote locations you'll be thoroughly entertained and fascinated. He has an awesome old-school Toyota Land Cruiser that I'm always interested in seeing more of as well.
Josh Nass - KI6NAZ
Channel: Ham Radio Crash Course
I've been coming to terms with Josh over the course of the past year. I'm not sure if it's me getting used to his quirky style, or Josh just toning things down a little. Regardless, his enthusiasm for the hobby is obvious, he's helped a ton of people get going, and he's not afraid to dip his foot into some controversial aspects of amateur radio and try some fun and unconventional setups like making an antenna out of two lawn chairs. And gracious when his kids make cameos.... just a cool/geeky (we mean that only in the best terms) dad doing his thing.
The Young(er) Guns
Johnny Twist - W5KV
Channel: Signal Search
Johnny Twist (is that really his name?) is just plain ol fun to watch. Not a lot of guys in the space have his particular kind of on-camera charisma and charm and his gentle delivery never gets old even when he covers subjects that I'm not especially interested in. His 10 years in the Army Airborne gave him a particular knowledge of antennas (he worked with jamming devices in the service) and he shares that information with great enthusiasm and application to our hobby.
Low key, down to earth approach - excellent delivery.
Billy Penley- KN4MKB
Totally unscripted and unpretentious, Billy Penley is THE guy that gives me hope in the future of amateur radio. Also exMil he's embraced some of the older areas where radio crosses over with computers like SDR, Winlink and satellite comms plus some of the newer crossovers like and FT8. Like a lot of the younger folks he isn't afraid to Go Play Radio in whatever form that takes and he makes it look fun.
His unboxing videos are like watching one of your kids on Christmas morning. His joy at operating - anything - is infectious.
Onno Benschop - VK6FLAB
There are 30 some odd amateur radio podcasts out there but the one that I keep coming back to with enthusiasm is The Foundations of Amateur Radio. It gets an almost instant listen when it hits. It's the podcast that Part 97 would write and produce if we had gone into podcasting.
Another thing that I like about his podcast is the length. They are all relatively short – somewhere between 4-7 minutes – and are easily consumable in a trip out to the market.
Onno also appeals to our sentimental side. He gets how aesthetically beautiful amateur radio is and it comes across in his choice of words, subject matter, and delivery.